Hearing Loss Threatens Mind, Life and Limb


Ever wondered if  family and friends who are concerned that you might be experiencing hearing loss might be right? Poor hearing is not just an annoying inconvenience.

“Two huge new studies have demonstrated a clear association between untreated hearing loss and an increased risk of dementia, depression, falls and even cardiovascular diseases.”

Read on via Hearing Loss Threatens Mind, Life and Limb – The New York Times

FYI:  I will continue to get mine checked yearly.

Record Breaking Antarctic Slog

“In an effort that could go down as one of the great feats in polar history, the American Colin O’Brady, 33, covered the final 77.54 miles of his 921-mile journey across Antarctica in one last 32-hour burst during which, without sleeping a wink, he became the first person ever to traverse Antarctica from coast to coast solo, unsupported and unaided by wind.”- NY Times

Story here



My Top Ten Books – 2018

I’m a goal oriented person who hoped to read 35 books this year.  I’m thrilled to report that I have ended up reading 45 books, with time for at least one more in 2018. I use Goodreads to track books that I want to read, books that I’ve read, and to see what my friends are reading.  Consider using the Goodreads app to improve your own enjoyment of and engagement in reading books.

Ten books stood out for me in 2018:

Ten Million Steps by M.J. Eberhart  – M. J. Eberhart, aka  Nimblewill Nomad, was a 60-year-old newly retired doctor in January 1998 when he set off on a foot journey that carried him 4,400 miles (twice the length of the Appalachian Trail) from the Florida Keys to the far north of Quebec.  It is also the first known public report of hiking the International Appalachian Trail, an extension of the AT  from Baxter State Park through northern Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec. 

On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moore– Moore is a young man who is already a a huge writer that has won multiple awards for his nonfiction work. As a hiker, I found the whole book interesting, but the Prologue and Epilogue holds the best writing about long distance hiking and “hiker-trash” philosophy that this hiker has ever read.

Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age– “Through fascinating profiles and first-person anecdotes, Bercovici illuminates the science and strategies extending the careers of elite older athletes, uncovers the latest advances in fields from nutrition to brain science to virtual reality, and offers empowering insights about how the rest of us can find peak performance at any age.”- from Goodreads

This Land Is Our Land- Ken Ilgunas– “Inspired by the United States’ history of roaming, and taking guidance from present-day Europe, Ilgunas calls into question our entrenched understanding of private property and provocatively proposes something unheard of: opening up American private property for public recreation. He imagines a future in which folks everywhere will have the right to walk safely, explore freely, and roam boldly–from California to the New York island, from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters.” – From Goodreads

Gut: The Inside Story- Julia Enders : I’ve read a half dozen or so books about the connection between gut health/diversity and functional performance and this one is fun, brief, easy to understand, and well focused.

The Human Superorganism: How the Microbiome Is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life- Rodney Dietert

“How would you react if you learnt that the microbes in, on and around your body could be the key to your physical and mental well-being? This is the enthusiastic claim made here. And it’s certainly a thought-provoking assertion. The metaphor of the “superorganism” represents the claim that human being cannot be understood in isolation of the bacterial and archaean colonies that live inside it and help it survive and strive.” -Otto Lehto

The Overstory- Richard Powers – This is the only fiction book on my list.   “From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us.” – Goodreads

Reading the Forested Landscape- Tom Wessels This book is a re-read for me.  Given my almost daily forays out into the various ecological locations depicted graphically and verbally in this book, I refer to it multiple times most days.  It is essential reading for exploring the edges of abandoned forests and the overgrown fields and swamps in coastal Maine, where I live.

The Man Who Walked Backward- Ben Montgomery I’ve started to listen to audio books while driving.  There’s plenty to choose from at my local library.  Here’s the first I tried out and I loved it.  I chose it after reading Montgomery’s Grandma Gatewood’s Walk,  the best book I read four years ago.  I wasn’t the only one who thought it exceptionally strong.  Montgomery won the 2014 National Outdoor Book Awards for History/Biography for his story of the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person—man or woman—to walk it twice and three times.  I reviewed the book here.

The Man Who Walked Backward: An American Dreamer's Search for Meaning in the Great Depression
“In The Man Who Walked Backward, Pulitzer Prize finalist Ben Montgomery charts Plennie Wingo’s backwards trek across the America that gave rise to Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, and the New Deal. With the Dust Bowl and Great Depression as a backdrop, Montgomery follows Plennie across the Atlantic through Germany, Turkey, and beyond, and details the daring physical feats, grueling hardships, comical misadventures, and hostile foreign police he encountered along the way. A remarkable and quirky slice of Americana, The Man Who Walked Backward paints a rich and vibrant portrait of a jaw-dropping period of history.”- Goodreads

The Book of the Hut -John Silverio  Another book that I have re-read.  I wrote a review of it here.  Jack’s book inspired me to build a 14 foot  diameter octagon at my Maine camp on Hobbs Pond.   I plan to head over to the hut today and light the wood stove for the first time.  There will be a ” grand opening” of the little building sometime this spring. Let me know if you’d like to visit !

Please be aware of the current 30% off sale of my own new book – In the Path of Young Bulls.  When ordered though this website, from now until Jan.1, 2019 the book is only $19.99 plus shipping.  Happy Holidays!

Buy In the Path of Young Bulls


My New Book is 30% Off Until New Year’s

When you order through the link on this page my new book , In the Path of Young Bulls,  is 30% off  now until Jan. 1, 2019.   Happy Holidays from Uncle Tom’s Guided Adventures.  Copies will be signed, and there is a chance for you to request an inscription as part of the ordering process.

I hope that you will enjoy the book, which is into its second printing already!  Thanks to all my supporters over the past several years !

Buy In the Path of Young Bulls

My 2018 Mileage Goals: MET ! YEAH !

Yesterday was one of my big days for 2018- the day when I finally  amassed 2000+ miles, balancing out half the miles on foot with the other half on one of my bikes.  Total hours spent hiking and biking was 506,  averaging one hour and 22 minutes a day.  I target about 75 minutes  of moderate to robust action a day.   If there are days where I am too tired to get out or I don’t feel up to it, I have to make up the time on another day, usually on the weekends.

Here are the Strava screenshots summarizing my achievements:

1,013 miles on foot
1,002 miles on a bicycle

Here’s a 2016 blog post about how I came to walk 1,000 miles in Maine a couple of years ago.

Some things that helped me meet my goals:

a)  I was injury free this year.  No crashes on my bike, where 95% of my bike miles are off road!  It is to the point now that if I get thrown off the bike, onto one of my bad shoulders, I’m a month off the bike.

b)  I was in good health all year, avoiding even a cold.

c)  I use a 2 minute daily heart rate variability measurement upon awakening every morning.  These days I’m using the Elite HRV App on my iPhone.  I’ve also switched from putting a cold heart rate chest strap to a CorSense heart rate variability sensor.

Here’s a blog post bout how I use the daily reading to gauge my recovery status, which guides how hard I plan to work out on any particular day.

d)  Get social.  According to Strava’s analysis of factors that contribute to increased time spent engaging in physical activity, there are just two factors that lead to increased activity and help athletes stay active longer: goal setting and working out with someone.  Read more about that here.

I’m strongly motivated by riding or hiking in a group.

Sunday morning with The Bubbas in the Woods.  A fine congregation !

Two to three times a week I ride with the Bubbas in the Woods, 33 members strong and riding year round on Midcoast Maine trails for the past 30+ years.

It’s pounding rain right now, with 2-3 ” predicted to wash away the foot of snow that has recently fallen here in the past week.  Maybe it will dry out enough so that I can fit in a ride in the woods Sunday morning.   I’m cruising into the last few days of 2018, feeling pretty smug but the way things turned out for me in 2018.

Consider getting friendly with a hiker or a hiker and give the 1,000 miles a year thing a go of it in 2018!